Comparative Costs and Benefits of Permanent Supportive Housing in Knoxville
City of Knoxville, 2012
Does it cost more to place chronically homeless people in supportive housing or leave them on the streets? This study, which focuses on 41 individuals in Knox County, Tennessee, sets out to answer that question. Researchers compared each people’s use of public services for one year before and one year after they entered supportive housing. The results show a marked decrease in services use and the public costs associated with them. Most impressive, the 41 individuals decreased their number of days in jail by 86% once they lived in supportive housing. They also decreased their use of mental health inpatient services by 23%. The researchers conclude that the average public cost for supportive housing in Knox County, Tennessee was $12 per day. When factoring in the cost of housing and eliminating outliers, they found that supportive housing reduced each formerly homeless person's public costs by $1,145 per year.